As the hunter slowly cocked his rifle, the one-arm dove swooped down, biting off two of the hunter’s fingers. The hunter stared as his bloody hand and thought to himself, “This ain’t too bad. I just saved 20 cents on breakfast.”
While not exactly in the same league as the Statue of Liberty, Graceland or the Golden Gate Bridge, my hometown’s tourist attraction is the annual One-Arm Dove Hunt.
Olney, Texas, is the home of many things, as in 3,500 things (and by “things” I mean “people”). Many of the tabloid reports in the city center around who will win Yard of the Week.
Two individuals living in Olney happen to be amputees who have lost an arm. Both also happen to be named Jack. Sensing the pulsating irony (or it could just be because there was nothing else to do) the two Jacks decided in 1972 to hold a dove-hunting contest for fun.
Due to a lack of any one-arm doves, the One-Arm Dove Hunt is for human amputees only, thereby giving a whole new meaning to relieved birds. There was also a sigh of relief emitted from a nearby box of skeet.
Though their relief was short-lived; as the doves and skeet learned, men and women with only one arm (and some fitted with prosthetic limbs) are entirely capable of using shotguns and rifles.
The festival, held the weekend after Labor Day, invites anyone who is missing an arm or hand and their families. Organizers may want to consider rewriting their stipulations, in case The Thing ever runs away from home, prompting the Addams Family to attend the event.
Along with the dove hunt, there is also a golf hunt, skeet hunt, auction hunt and food hunt, also known as the 10 Cents A Finger Breakfast.
Unfortunately, hosting dozens of hunters in the town’s one motel has not given Olney a strong enough case to build a Wal-Mart.
There are hunters from all over the country and Canada that come to the small town in North Texas for “Texas’ Most Unusual Event.” But what makes this event especially Texan is the cow chip chunk’n contest, a chance to see people with one arm throwing chunks of poop as far as they can.
Hurling feces is a secret desire I have harbored for years, never attaining the courage it took to remove my own waste from a toilet. Since I don’t like the odds of me ever fondling another human’s or animal’s dung, I forecast never participating in said sport.
The weekend is clearly one of unbridled ecstasy for the hunters, the only chance many of them have for fellowship with other amputees during the year; however, it definitely falls short of something any of them would “give up their right arm” for.